La Palma Water Distribution System (2012-Present)
EWB - Valpo is working with the village of La Palma in Nicaragua to help rehabilitate their water distribution system. La Palma is a small village on the east side of Ometepe Island on the base of the volcano Maderas. Most of the people in community are subsistence farmers. This project aims to improve the leaking pipes and the distribution tank that carries spring water to La Palma's residents. Several valves are in need of repair or replacement. Part of our goal of this project is to extend water access to the homes that do not have piped water. Community members believe that water is wasted when the distribution tank overflows at night. The community has also reported that they chlorinate the drinking water in the distribution tank, a practice that EWB-Valpo wants to ensure is disinfecting the water to the highest possible standards.
After the EWB - Valpo assessment trip in November of 2013, we have realized we have no way of knowing how much water is overflowing. To fix this problem EWB-Valpo is currently designing and testing a way to measure the water intake. Our design resembles a see saw. When water fills a bucket on oneside, it dumps out lifting a new bucket to be filled immediately. Each time the bucket tips it triggers a sensor. This sensor will let us know how many times the bucket has tipped and ultimately resulting in how much water overflows the tank. EWB - Valpo surveyed the land to get a better idea of the needs of the village for their water supply. Results show many homes do not get water or only recive water sometimes. Next trip we hope to put our tipping bucket-meter to work and start planning for a second tank with a better piping system.
Maesera, Tanzania Irrigation Canal (2008-2012)
EWB Valpo has recently completed its canal rehabilitation project in the village of Maesera, Moshi Rural District, Tanzania. The canal is approximately 80 years old and has been in need of major repair. The damage to the canal had reached a level where it threatened both the agricultural and the domestic water supplies of the village. By working with villagers for the past five years with three total assessment trips, EWB-Valpo has repaired multiple portions of the canal and has helped the village to establish future systems to better manage the canal. One of the greatest engineering challenges occurred in 2011, when EWB-Valpo installed a concrete structure called a drop box, which minimizes erosion at a 6 foot drop in the canal, and slows the water to avoid erosion further downstream.
EWB-Valpo last travelled to the region in 2012 to assess how best to progress the project further, monitor past projects, and to help supervise a village-wide repair effort organized completely by Masaera. After this trip, both Maesera and EWB-Valpo agreed that canal engineering challenges were within the scope of the village and the project was closed after 4 years of hard work and successful cooperation. EWB-Valpo was also told that this past season was the first in 10 years that they did’t have make an emergency shutdown of the canal for repairs. They were actually able to grow enough crops to sell to neighboring villages. This project has clearly had a positive impact on the villagers.
EWB-Valpo Kenya Project (2004-2008)
For decades, the community of Nakor, in the Turkana region of Northwestern Kenya, has been severely impacted by drought. Its drinking water supply had been primarily extracted from shallow, open wells and there was no long-term water storage for crop irrigation.
Gene Morden, M.A. in Agriculture, sponsored by Christian Missionary Fellowship International (CMF), brought this project to the attention of EWB-USA in 2003 through Mark Reiner, EWB-USA Director of Civil Resources. The project arose from the missionary work of Gene Morden and his family in this area of Kenya since the mid-1990s. Initially, CMF helped provide food assistance to the villagers.
EWB-Valpo made three visits to this area (2004, 2005 and 2006) installing eleven windmill-powered water systems with the help of the local Turkana villagers. The drip-line irrigation systems feed multiple community gardens which produce 4-5 crops each year and generate bartering material for the local villagers to acquire additional animals (primarily camels and goats and most recently, donkeys) and of other types of food grown elsewhere in the area.
The Morden family requested that EWB-Valpo return to this area in 2008, as the winds had virtually stopped during the daytime for the first time in recorded history, greatly compromising water production for drinking and crop irrigation. Also, several other windmills had become disabled due to broken or missing mechanical parts. EWB-Valpo decided to retro-fit several of the under-functioning units with solar pumps and panels. Additionally, the Chapter constructed a merry-go-round powered system that harnesses the power of children’s play to pump water for garden irrigation.
Follow this link to view EWB-Valpo's video from the Kenya Project